The Snitch Who Stole Christmas

By Jon F. Merz


As you may know, each year I write a special Lawson Vampire Christmas story for my fans and give it away absolutely FREE here on my website. This is one of the ways I say thank you to all my awesome fans and friends for their support over the previous year. You guys are the best fans an author could hope for, so I like to give something back to you.

This year’s offering is THE SNITCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS and it runs around 8,200 words. This story takes place in 1999, a few years before the events that happen in the first published Lawson novel THE FIXER. You can download the story very easily by simply right-clicking or command-clicking the file links below and saving the file to your computer. Once you’ve saved it, you should be able to import the file to your e-reader of choice. I also have a .pdf file as well in case you prefer to print it out or read it on your desktop computer.

I’m very pleased to be able to offer this story to you all. If you enjoy it, please be sure to tell your friends to come and grab a copy for themselves as well. Last year, we had an amazing number of people download the story and I’m hoping to surpass that number this year. Since it’s free, folks have nothing to lose by downloading it. I hope you all enjoy it!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and thank you again for all your support during 2012.


Sears: Total FAILURE – Part 2

Back at the end of October, I wrote a blog post detailing the absolute unmitigated FAILURE of Sears to make good on its delivery of three appliances to my home. While blasting this around Twitter and other social media networks, I heard back from the folks apparently manning the “SearsCares” Twitter account who repeatedly assured me they would have the case manager make it right.

Eventually, I did indeed speak with a new case manager named Eric, who was professional and polite and we eventually reached an agreement regarding fair compensation for the failure of the company to make good on its promises. I would be refunded a certain amount and the refund would be put back on the card I’d used to make the purchases initially. There was one hiccup in this – the credit card I used to buy the appliances was compromised and I had to get a new one issued to me. A few more days of wrangling ensued mostly because Sears’ policy is to only refund the card that was used. However, to their credit, they agreed to refund the amount to my new card. At this point, we’re now approaching Thanksgiving and I was assured by Eric that the refunds would go through within days of the holiday. Sears would process one refund a day (again, this is apparently their policy) and I would therefore get three separate refunds to my card.

That was over three weeks ago and to date, I have not received one single cent of my promised refund. I have emailed repeatedly and again taken to Twitter about how horribly Sears has failed in its consumer relationship with me. Once again, Christine over at “SearsCares” has promised to get a case manager to contact me about it. That was two days ago and STILL I have not gotten a phone call or a refund.

I have tried to be fair throughout this mess. I have tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and been more than patient with them.

No longer.

As of today, I am filing an official complaint with the State Attorney General’s office in Boston, as well as alerting the various members of the media I know personally, and again taking to the social media universe. Because of the total and complete failure that my Sears shopping experience has been, I would urge anyone with money to spend it elsewhere. Sears has proven time and time again that they do not appreciate their consumers, they do not live up to their promises, and they do not care about making things right.

Do NOT give them your business and warn others to steer clear of them as well. If Sears cannot honor its commitments, it does not deserve to be in business.

Please be sure to spread this around as warning to others NOT to make the mistake I made in buying from Sears. Thank you.

Why It’s Important to Subscribe to My Newsletter

My newsletter is one of the most important things I have as an author. It lets me keep all my readers informed of my new work, writing, happenings, and all sorts of assorted goodness. There’s free fiction and more in each issue and I try to make it a bit more interesting with each installment. 2013 will see some cool changes as well with more added content every month. I always recommend that people subscribe and stay subscribed and this morning presented a perfect reason why.

Starting in January, Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photographs. Go read the article and nuke your Instagram account and then come back and we’ll continue.

Back? Okay, so Instagram is owned by Facebook. They bought Instagram for billions of dollars and now they have a very popular photography site that they are planning on turning into a serious revenue stream for themselves. I don’t use Instagram (I think I did once, but I nuked my account this morning just to be sure) but I do use Facebook. A LOT. I post tons of things out there to both my personal profile and my fan page. And my thinking is that if Facebook enacts a stupid policy change like they just did with Instagram, then what’s to stop them from doing the same at Facebook itself? While they’ve repeatedly said they won’t charge anyone to use Facebook, will they attempt to sell things that people post as a revenue maker? It’s possible. is it likely? I don’t know.

But I do know that if they ever did, my Facebook presence would disappear in a second. And that’s why I’m urging you all to subscribe to my free newsletter now so we have a redundant system of communication between us. Yes, you can find me on Facebook and stay up-to-date, but what if Facebook goes down or I stop posting there? By being a member of the coolest newsletter subscriber base on the planet (if I do say so rather immodestly) you’ll be sure that you always get the latest and greatest from me.

A new issue is dropping in a few days, so don’t wait. Subscribe right now by plopping your email address into the little box below. It’s quick, easy, and totally free. I will never sell your information to anyone. Ever. Period.

Family Security

The news today out of Newtown, CT is horrible on so many levels. It’s hard to know how to even begin to fathom the evil that would rob innocent children of their lives. When my sons got out of school today, my wife and I were there to greet them, hug them, and then most importantly, sit down and talk about what happened.

I know a lot of parents think that shielding their children from atrocities like this are what they should do, but I happen to disagree. Children need to know that evil exists and it can strike anytime, any place, and it can happen to anyone. The better prepared they are, the better chance they have of surviving if (heaven forbid) they ever find themselves in a situation like what happened earlier today. Due to some personal messages I received after posting a status update to this effect, I have decided to elaborate on some ideas as a public service. I hope you find them helpful. These are things my wife and I discuss with our boys. You may want to do the same.

1. First, talk to them. Walk them through the tragedy so they understand. This is a delicate and difficult process. My wife and I were both tearing up as we talked with our sons today. But they should see that. Because they’re not parents, they don’t necessarily understand how much the thought of losing them hurts. Seeing your pain will help impress upon them how serious a matter this is. As you discuss the event, stop often and ask how they’re feeling and if they have questions. Kids need to know that evil exists – it’s not fearmongering or ruining their innocence; it’s better preparing them for the real world. Sadly, these are the times we live in. I’d rather have my children lose their innocence than lose their lives.

2. Teach them that their awareness is their single best defense. In today’s busy world, our kids often have their heads down or on other things aside from what’s happening around them. Because they may not yet be big enough to physically defend themselves, awareness is their best weapon. Practice exercises with them like asking them to recall what sort of car just drove by. What was the license plate of that car? What color sweater was that woman wearing on the train? Have them do the same to you. Make it a game, but at the same time make sure they understand how vital it is to be aware. Not sometimes. Not once in a while. But all the time.

3. Get them familiar with the sound of gunfire. Now before you all rush to your emails and send me nasty messages, hear me out. We live around the way from a gun club. The sound of gunfire is around us fairly constantly – especially on weekends. Each time we hear guns going off, we make sure the boys recognize it. We’ve driven them past the range so they can hear how loud it is up close and what it would sound like to be near a gun. What this does is prompt their subconscious to recognize gunfire and alert them if those sounds happen in a place where there shouldn’t be gunfire, i.e, a school or shopping plaza. Even an extra second or two is an advantage in a crisis situation.

4. Answer their questions honestly. If you don’t know the answer, tell them you will find out and get back to them, and then do it! We stressed that they should listen to their teachers today, but if they find themselves alone and unable to get back to the safety of their classroom or they are unable to flee to safety, that they should pretend it’s a game of hide-and-seek and they should try to find the best possible place to hide and then stay there until the police come.

5. Establish communication procedures. How will you get in contact with them and vice versa? Make sure they know that you will come for them and be able to communicate. My sons learned my cellphone number before they could say their address properly. Nowadays, they have multiple ways to get in touch with both my wife and me.

6. Make sure you prepare as a family. If you’re in a restaurant or movie theater, do you and your spouse have a plan for responding to a threat? My wife and I know exactly what our roles are in such an event. Evacuation of the kids and dealing with the threat are both parts of our plan. That may not be possible for you depending on whether you have training or not, but a clear evac route is necessary. Teach your kids to make a note of the exits whenever they enter a new place, restaurant, theater, etc.

These are just a few of the ways you can better prepare your children and your family for the possibility of a hostile event. I wish such things didn’t have to be discussed, but unfortunately, in today’s world they need to be.

I hope you’ll all join me in sending out thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, and positivity to those affected by this horrible tragedy. And please share this post if you think it will do some good.

Be well everyone.

Get a Free Christmas Card from Jon!

Lots of stuff happening this month. In case you haven’t seen it, the production company I run with my good friend Jaime Hassett – New Ronin Entertainment – is ramping up for 2013. Come like us over on Facebook and check out our projects.

In a few weeks you’ll be able to download a FREE copy of my annual Lawson Christmas story for fans. This year, I’m pleased to bring you THE SNITCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS. Look for that around the 21st or so.

Also, this year I’m doing something fun: Christmas cards for my fans. Want one? They’re easy to get, but the number I’m doing is limited, so DON’T WAIT! Here’s what you need to do:

1. You MUST be subscribed to my newsletter BOSTON NOCTURNE – if you’re not, look over on the right side at the top and you’ll see the subscribe form. Drop your email in that and you’re good to go.
2. Send me an email to JONFMERZ at GMAIL dot COM (remove the “at” and “dot”)
3. Include the following: You full name, complete mailing address, zip/postal code
4. Tell me which books/ebooks you’ve enjoyed recently or what your favorites are.

I’ll fill out each card I send, so you’ll be sure to receive something unique and special. I should be sending these out within the next few weeks.

Additionally, if you buy some of my ebooks today and send me a copy of the receipt, I’ll include a little something special in your stocking this year. No purchase is required to get the Christmas card, but if you do pick up some of my work today or whenever you send me your information for the card, I’ll send you a little gift. It’s my way of saying thanks for being such awesome fans.

Time is short and so is the number of cards I’m sending, so don’t wait! Drop me a line right now!